Ranch Musings: Forget dinosaurs

Ranch Musings: Forget dinosaurs

David Zirnhelt writes about “plant blindness” and soil health

David Zirnhelt

Observer Contributor

A couple of decades ago, research showed that modern civilization is dangerously ignorant of plant life, even if we eat parts of them daily. This phenomenon has been called “plant blindness.”

We hear that one million plant and animal species are at risk. All of you who went to UBC will have seen the article that inspired this column from the Fall edition of the Trek, the UBC Alumni publication.

Too much attention is being paid only to the “at-risk” big animal species like Rhinos. We have a fascination for dinosaurs, and children probably know more about them than any plants that are at risk these days.

Connections with nature, some studies say, have beneficial effects on cognition and learning. As we lose these connections, we miss learning about the environment that supports our lives.

I think I grew up “plant-blind,” and that is not all. While I studied biology in high school and first-year university, I was diverted into international relations and politics. Later at UBC, I was fortunate to participate in an interdisciplinary seminar in ecology and for a few years, I had the inspiration of one of the world’s leading ecologists, Buzz Holling, who just passed away.

But I was really blind to the small critters in our soil.

For those of you who want to pursue more information on plant blindness, check out the journal Plants, People, Planet.

But those big plants and animals are all we have to come to know. If we are blind to many of the living things we can see, what about the microscopic plants and animals in the soil? Millions exist right under our feet.

This leads me to the upcoming Soil Health Conference in the Cariboo in January.

Some local people have invested a lot of time on behalf of all those interested, especially farmers and ranchers.

This conference, being held Jan. 16 and 17, was designed to bring in a world-class expert and mix her with local experts or “knowledgeable persons” to get us on track to understanding this underworld below our fields and pastures.

With understanding and practical advice, we can move forward in our stewardship.

Soils expert Kris Nichols will be in Williams Lake, along with other guest speakers and members of producer panels to share information about regenerating soils with soil biology; principles and production practices to regenerate soils; and linkages between soil health and human health.

To register for the Sustainable, Low-input Strategies with Practical Tools to Build Soil Health event, visit eventbrite.ca/e/bc-interior-soils-conference-building-soil-health-tickets-81077522051 or call Ang at 1-604-243-8357. Sign up today!

David Zirnhelt is a rancher and member of the Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association. He is also chair of the Advisory Committee for the Applied Sustainable Ranching Program at Thompson Rivers University Williams Lake.

READ MORE: Ranch musings: winter pasture thoughts



editor@quesnelobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

There are hiking trails aplenty around Quesnel, including at the West Fraser Timber Park right inside the municipality. (Submitted Photo)
Many things to do in the Cariboo

Jim Hilton’s column from Jan. 20

(Tracey Roberts Photo)
COVID-19 rule followers are not suckers

Cassidy Dankochik’s column from the Jan. 20 paper

A dust advisory is in place for Quesnel. Residents are asked to be careful near heavy traffic areas. (File Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Quesnel under dust advisory

High levels of dust in the air can be dangerous for people with COVID-19

The COVID-19 outbreak at the two Coastal GasLink workforce lodges has officially been declared over. (Lakes District News file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Coastal GasLink worksites declared over

In total, 56 cases were associated with the outbreak in the Burns Lake and Nechako LHAs

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Economic Development and Official Languages Minister Melanie Joly responds to a question in the House of Commons Monday November 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal minister touts need for new B.C. economic development agency

Last December’s federal economic update promised a stimulus package of about $100 billion this year

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2017, file photo, Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York. Former CNN talk show host King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week, the news channel reported Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021. CNN reported the 87-year-old King contracted the coronavirus and was undergoing treatment at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Larry King, broadcasting giant for half-century, dies at 87

King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews

BC Coroners Service is currently investigating a death at Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard in North Saanich. (Black Press Media File)
Drowning death in North Saanich likely B.C.’s first in for 2021

Investigation into suspected drowning Monday night continues

Kimberly Proctor, 18, was murdered in 2010. Her family has spent many of the years since pushing for a law in her honour, that they say would help to prevent similar tragedies. (Courtesy of Jo-Anne Landolt)
Proposed law honouring murdered B.C. teen at a standstill, lacks government support

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions has concerns with involuntary detainment portion of act

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Most Read